Pro Wrestling Erasures | Dan Mancilla

Artist Statement | Professional wrestling is one of my not-so-guilty pleasures. It’s also the subject of and inspiration for a lot of my fiction. My novella, The Deathmask of El Gaucho (Little Presque Books/Passages North), tells the story of the fictional luchador, El Gaucho. My short story collection, All the Proud Fathers (Dock Street Press), also features a few stories about professional wrestlers. These erasure poems are an extension of that interest. Promos (brief monologues that are part scripted and part extemporaneous which wrestlers use to hype upcoming matches) provide the text for these erasures. In the heat of the moment wrestlers’ promos can move fans to cheer or boo and ultimately tune-in or buy a ticket to watch them beat up or get beat up by an opponent. The emotional context of the promo makes up for any mangled lines or malapropisms. Out of context and removed from the moment (even for a wrestling fan), these promos don’t make much sense. The form of erasure allows me to reassemble these promos without changing any of the words or their order to create something new and, hopefully, more coherent. It’s important for me to publish these pieces in a digital medium so that the reader can interact with both the poem and the original promo. It’s my hope that the ability to see both versions side by side adds depth to the promo and the poem.

Dan Mancilla is the author of the short story collection All the Proud Fathers (Dock Street Press) and the novella The Deathmask of El Gaucho (Little Presque Books/Passages North). His writing has appeared in The Chicago Tribune, Barrelhouse, Midwestern Gothic, Slice Magazine, River Styx, Hobart, and The Saturday Evening Post, among other publications. You can read more about Dan and his work at